Dum Dum Girls El Mocambo, Toronto ON February 26

Dum Dum Girls El Mocambo, Toronto ON February 26
Take away the seams and Victor Frankenstein's monster becomes exponentially more attractive. But when it comes to pastiche, the ill-fated scientist had nothing on Dum Dum Girls' mastermind, Dee Dee. A championship-calibre alchemist, her band's debut, I Will Be, transformed a huge slate of influences -- Brit Invasion, Paisley Underground, garage, new wave, 1960s pop and so on -- into sonic gold. Delivered live, the results were even more compelling.

Kicking things off with a mesmeric take on the Rolling Stones' "Play with Fire," the California foursome dolled out echo-laden, four-girl choral harmonies and some early seriousness. Things loosened up for a Josie Cotton-evoking version of "Catholicked" and a blistering "Bhang Bhang, I'm a Burnout." And then a bottle of Jack came out.

Whiskey in hand, the combo stretched their legs with bittersweet throbber "Take Care of My Baby" and a scorching "Jail La La." Throughout, drummer Sandy Vu hammered hard, adding gravitas to straight-ahead guitar rock moments.

With an occasional reliance on four-chord progressions and the word "baby" -- Dee Dee must have the record for the most per capita "baby's" in songwriting history -- the quartet's earnestness, well-dressed allusions and general swagger proved invaluable.

That bluster came to the fore for a closing rendition of the Smiths' "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out." Uptempo, angst-y and slightly ramshackle, the fantastic re-imagining snarled in all the right places while being held together by Jules Medeiros's impressive Johnny Marr impression. Incidentally, it's particularly remarkable that a show beginning with Mick and Keith and concluding with Marr and Morrissey flowed so, um, seamlessly.